Before the formation of a police force, each parish elected a constable, whose duties included the maintenance of the village lock-up and stocks.
The lock-up was a gaol where those waiting to be brought before the local magistrate were held and drunks and troublemakers were locked up for the night. Most were little more than a secure shed, made available for that purpose by a local farmer and performing other services when not required by the constable.
Local lock-ups fell out of use after the 1839 County Police Act when police stations were built which had their own holding facilities.
Lock-Ups by Bedfordshire Libraries, 2011
Page last updated: 3rd February 2014